Getting schools ready for RSHE

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that they will be making only minor amends to the previously released draft regulations for Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). This marks a further development in what has been hailed as a historic shake up to RSE as previous guidance has remained untouched for 19 years.

Since 1999, it has been compulsory in state-funded secondary schools to deliver the relationship and sex education (RSE) aspect of PSHE. However, without a standardised framework, schools have been left to plan lessons, source resources and remain informed about RSE subject matter, to adequately inform learners about sensitive but crucial life lessons. 

We live in a drastically different world to that of nearly 20 years ago for both positive and negative reasons. The changes may feel like a long time coming for some, but it is a huge step in the right direction for adequate provision for RSE.

Further to the new regulations for RSE, the Health Education (HE) element of PSHE is also to become compulsory in secondary schools (with the exception of independent schools who are already required to deliver this as part of their framework). The guidance released this week draws heavily on young people who conduct lives both on and offline, the pitfalls of which should certainly be included in the content of RSE. It also discusses relationships of all kinds, respect, well-being, mental health, resilience and the integration of LGBT discussions and much more.

The regulations are great in length but when read, are far from heavy-handed. They are real, valuable life lessons, many of which are necessary because of threats which have gathered pace in the last 19 years such as extremism, body image and online presence and knowledge of mental health concerns. When apportioned, many are somewhat common sense, but in their entirety, the regulations could appear to be daunting.

NCFE is supporting schools to meet these regulations by developing a new suite of RSHE qualifications, suitable for learners in years 7-11 from industry expert, CACHE. These qualifications will launch on 1 September 2019 to allow schools to adopt the new regulations and begin to embed them into their curriculum ahead of the compulsory deadline. These qualifications will be supported by high-quality learning resources from Jigsaw PSHE and schools and teachers will have access to CPD to ensure that they are comfortable to deliver the qualifications. 

Jan Lever, Director of Jigsaw PSHE Ltd said: “At Jigsaw we are excited to see statutory status being afforded to RSE and Health Education as well as to see the new Ofsted inspection framework emphasising Personal Development. In these exciting times for these subjects, we are delighted to be working with NCFE and CACHE to bring recognition to students and schools through this new suite of qualifications and our Jigsaw teaching programmes.

The DfE stipulate in their regulations that “Schools should have the same high expectations of the quality of pupils’ work in these subjects as for other curriculum areas... with regular feedback provided on pupil progress.”

The benefits of schools adding a suite of qualifications to their curriculum will allow teachers to have the peace of mind that they are able to capture the progress of learners throughout delivery through a series of internally assessed workbooks.

We understand that many schools prefer to use the framework and guidance offered by implementing a qualification to help them meet the needs of the learner and deliver a structured programme of learning.

Zoe Pasquet, a PSHE teacher from Harmonize Academy who has been teaching the Level 1 Award in Sexual Health Awareness from CACHE, said: “Young people are becoming sexually active at a younger age and it is important that they have the knowledge to keep themselves safe from harm. With social media and online dating apps, students are more vulnerable than ever when it comes to exploitation and it is therefore essential from a safeguarding perspective to inform them of what to look out for and what to do should they find themselves in these situations. The sessions allow students to develop confidence in talking about sexual health issues and give them the opportunity to ask questions in a safe environment with a trusted adult.”

We have continued to refine our PSHE offer, including high-quality teaching resources and a suite of qualifications to structure PSHE lessons and we are delighted that we will be able to help schools further prepare learners for life with our upcoming RSHE qualifications.

To find out more about our current PSHE offer or to register for updates about our suite of RSHE qualification, visit our website.

ncfe.org.uk/PSHEmadeeasy

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